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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: Barriers to Data on Firearms are Limiting Our Understanding of Gun Violence in America

While gun violence in America kills more than 35,000 people a year and calls for policies to stem the crisis grow, University of Washington researchers point out in a new analysis that barriers to data stand in the way of advancing solutions.

“Firearm data availability, accessibility and infrastructure need to be substantially improved to reduce the burden of the public health crisis of firearm violence,” said Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, lead co-author and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

The paper was published as a “Viewpoint” in JAMA on Oct. 11. Other co-authors are Dr. Frederick Rivara, professor of pediatrics in the UW School of Medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health, and Ms. Morgan A. Bellenger, firearm injury research coordinator in the UW’s Department of Pediatrics.

The authors look at three specific categories — firearm ownership and storage, firearm purchase and firearm tracing — to show how previously available data led to published research. In these three cases, data either is no longer being collected or researchers are not allowed access.

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